Xiding is a very small city (yesterday village even) located on the west of Xishuangbanna prefecture. Its Thursday market is considered one of the best and authentic markets in the region. Read further and get washed by the sea of tribal colors!
Xiding is a very small city (yesterday village even) located on the west of Xishuangbanna prefecture. Someone says there is a little to expect here, still tourists are making the road to this far corner at least once a week. And it’s on purpose: the Thursday market is considered one of the best and authentic markets in the region.
I’ll explain: Yunnan province is a unique province in China which is very famous by various ethnic minorities and tribes (some even do not speak Mandarin Chinese). Xiding is a regional center that once in a week hosts a bazaar that serves both as a shopping and social event for all the nearby villages. Various minorities in their national clothes could be observed and even a bit photographed on the market. You will learn to distinguish between Aini, Bulang, Dai and Hani minorities and perhaps some others :)
- Get there a day before. This is a typical route: take a bus from Jinghong to Menghai (that would be easy). From Menghai there are two buses to Xiding each day.
- There is a modest “hostel” right at the place the Xiding bus stops. Hot shower and toilet are available in a separate building 10 meters away from your door. The place is a bit noisy, so some tourists recommend to get out of the bus toward the main “square” in Xiding (50m) and find a stairs up that lead to another village (some say that the people in that village are even more hospitable and the sleep is quieter).
- Get up with the sun (for us it was near 7:00 am) to see the launch of the shopping party and to take the pictures while the shadows are still looong :)
- Wherever you go – ensure you have at least the name of the place written on paper in Chinese. Lots of village names sound pretty same for the western ear, so you might find yourself kilometers away of the desired destination.
- In case you are completely stacked without a bus to/from Xiding, the bike shop on the central square will do you a “favor”, delivering you and your luggage to any nearby village (beware: Lonely Planet defines the ride of that type as a “hair rising experience”). Be firm when negotiating a price.
- There are some tracks opportunities from Xiding to nearby villages and more on that in the future lomolocations :)